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How to start a political party in South Africa

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What it takes to start your own political party in South Africa and the ways in which to go about it, including registering with the Independent Electoral Commission.

Starting a political party in South Africa is not a difficult endeavour. It has due processes that one needs to follow, but it is certainly pretty straightforward if you intend to have one. Forming your own political party would require someone to be able to engage and win over an audience that would be willing to join your party because of the shared values, policies and ideas you have. One would want to join a political party because that party, for example, also believes in economic equality.

In South Africa, one needs to register their party with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) at two levels. South Africa offers you two choices; either to register at a national level or at a municipal level. Both levels require specific processes to be followed to successfully register.

The need for this registration is to ensure that once your party is registered, it will be able to participate and contest in elections of a national level or of a municipal level of the country. For each level, the IEC provides guidelines to follow to qualify for your desired level.

If you choose for your political party to be registered at a national level, this will qualify the party to be able to contest national elections. These include those of the National Assembly, provincial legislature, and all municipal councils.

For a party that desires to be registered at a municipal level, it will allow for that party to, firstly, be representatives of a particular municipality or municipalities of their choosing. Once that has been established, the party will then only be able to contest in the elections for their particular municipal councils that they had chosen in their registration to represent.

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